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Hi Everyone! Today's recipe is another Traditional Mexican dish, another of my favorites: Birria, Lamb Stew! This one is great for the holidays or any other special occasion. It is super easy to make, and everyone will be pleased with it, they will think you spent hours and hours in the kitchen, but in reality, the preparation time is less than 30 minutes, and once you put the meat on the stove, you can forget about it for a couple of hours! This dish is usually made with Lamb, but you can also use Goat, Pork, Beef, Veal or a combination of different meats! The results will be always delicious! I really hope you give this one a try! You wont regret it.
3- 4 lbs. boneless lean lamb meat (shoulder or leg is perfect)
2 sliced onions
5 garlic cloves (you don't even have to peel them off)
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
5-6 sprigs fresh marjoram
Plenty of salt
For the sauce-broth
2 lbs. Roma tomatoes
4 Mirasol chilis (or guajillo chilis)
4 pipitilla chilis (or New Mexico Chilis )
*2 Chiles de Arbol (optional, for a more spicy sauce)
1½-2 tablespoons Maggi sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)
1 cube of beef bouillon
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped radishes
**For this recipe we need a steamer pot with a steamer basket or steamer rack.**
Fill the pot with water to the correct level, (for 3-4lbs of meat, you will need about 15 cups of water)
Place the steamer rack back inside the pot.
Arrange half the meat on the steamer rack, cover this meat with 1 sliced onion, and half the fresh herbs, season with plenty of salt. (About 3 tablespoons of salt per pound of meat. Remember salt is to taste, so feel free to add as little or as much as you like.)
Add the rest of the meat, and cover with the second onion and the rest of the fresh herbs, also add in the garlic cloves and again, season with more salt. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 1½-2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Once the meat is ready, remove it from the steamer, and let it cool for about 30 minutes. (Reserve cooking liquid, we will use it for the sauce).
Once the meat is cool, shred it, and set it aside until you are ready to serve.
To make the sauce:
Strain the cooking liquid into a large clean sauce pan or pot. This is to remove any stems, chunks of onions, garlic or any fat that might be left in the broth.
Remove the stems from the chili peppers.
In a large sauce pan, add the tomatoes and the dry chili peppers, cover with enough water and bring to a boil, boil for 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes and the chilis become soft. Blend them on high speed for 3 minutes or until you get a puree consistency. Strain this puree, just to make sure you don't get any large chili skins in the sauce.
In a large pot, combine the tomato mixture with the meat broth (cooking liquid), and season with 1 cube of beef bouillon and 1½ tablespoons of Maggi Sauce (or Worcestershire sauce). Add any water if you need to. This is the broth for our stew, so we need this broth to be twice as much as the meat, so feel free to add as much water as you need to.
Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until it comes to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, taste the flavor and add any salt if needed. (you can also add more Maggi sauce or beef bouillon instead of salt).
Add the meat back in the broth and continue to boil for 5-6 more minutes. Just to warm up the meat.
To serve, garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped onions, radishes and lime wedges, don't forget the warm tortillas! Enjoy!
Note: In my family we prefer to keep the meat and the broth separately, so we usually keep the broth simmering on very low heat, and we keep the meat warm in the oven, when we are reading to eat, we fill a deep bowl with tons of meat, and add some of the warm broth over the meat, then garnish with fresh cilantro, onions, radishes, lime wedges and tortillas.
Either way it will be delicious!